Friday, April 30, 2010

Kick-Ass [2010]

I saw the red band trailer for Kick Ass last fall – and my immediate reaction was “this looks like it’s going to be great!” – then the eventual hype machine started on it – and the fact it was being marketed for the mass markets – I began to worry that it wasn’t going to be as kick ass as advertised.

Dave Lizewski, a teenage boy, decides to take his obsession with comic books to a new level and take matters into his own hands when it comes to the local thugs. He becomes Kick Ass! Only one problem: he doesn’t have any super powers or training – just motivation and heart.

There’s a lot that goes on – because it’s essentially an origin story. So, where I usually want to keep my description of the film short – I have to note that he’s not the only person in town who decides to take matter into their own hands. There’s an ex-cop and his daughter who become Big Daddy and Hit Girl – they have the training and the armaments to make a real go at being superheroes. Then you have the mobster whose son is desperate to take over the family business – and he becomes Red Mist.

I don’t think any of this is a spoiler or anything – but it’s important for me to note per how my review is going to go.

What I think is missing from this film is Kick Ass – I never really got the feeling that Dave was into his alter ego as much as others were. He only gets into a couple of solo altercations as Kick Ass – and though we may be looking at a studio saying “we can’t just dress up a kid and show him fighting crime – we might get sued” – I for one just didn’t feel like the movie was about him – the titular character.

I also don’t like reviewing a movie for what’s not in it – unless it’s a major issue – so let me review what’s in the film. The film is fun. A whole mess of fun – and in my book it’s mostly for Hit Girl. Hit Girl steals the show! She’s got the best lines and the best action scenes. The movie felt like it was more about her than it was about Kick Ass.

I really liked the plot – Kick Ass becomes a web sensation – mobster gets into a situation and blames the new web sensation everyone’s talking about. It makes sense – and I appreciate that. Plots in superhero films can often get convoluted and annoying – and are usually razor thin – this holds water.

The film is at times pretty violent – though it certainly could’ve been more so – considering all the talk. Then again it’s for the mass market – so if it was more violent – and pleased my palate – it probably would’ve been TOO violent. Yes, there’s also a young girl saying naughty words – get the parents union to bitch because they refuse to raise their children to know better.

The humor was pretty good – nice and dark and a bit slapstick (in a violent way) – I could’ve done without the Nic Cage impersonation of Adam West – it felt a bit too broad.

I felt the acting was strong from pretty much all fronts – and would even advocate a best supporting actress nod for Chole Grace Moretz – as Hit Girl. Honestly, I don’t see the appeal of Christopher Mintz-Plasse – but he didn’t detract from the film any more than I felt he added – so it’s a draw.

I felt the story dragged a bit – but it was shot well – without a shit load of shaky cam – and I liked that. Overall it felt a bit disjointed – and I could’ve done without the weak voiceovers at times. I felt maybe there was a bit too much style being forced into it – but I guess it didn’t overpower – so I’ll forgive.

I’m giving Kick Ass a 4 out of 5 – I think Hit Girl’s final battle really clinched the fact it wasn’t going to get lower – but I don’t think it reached for better – though it had potential I may sound a bit overly critical - but I liked it - I truly truly did - and I hope for a sequel (hoping the trend of awesome superhero sequels holds true).

[directed by Matthew Vaughn]

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